Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring Plug-in Hybrid
Updated: Oct 27
The Lincoln Corsair is the American luxury brand's entry-level offering. We tested the gas-powered version previously (link here) and are now testing the top-of-the-line Grand Touring, which only comes as a plug-in hybrid version. We will compare our notes and see where the PHEV stands against the competition. Our test model has an MSRP of $73,350 and is built at the Louisville, KY, plant.
We'll recap the styling of the Corsair by saying it's muted and elegant. The front grille is tailored for someone who doesn't want to stand out, which is okay since not everyone wants a flashy vehicle. The first thing that stands out on the driver's side is the badge Corsair written in blue to illustrate the electric and pure nature of the car compared to the rest of the lineup. The 20-inch wheels with discreet curves make the vehicle look like a small Navigator. In the back, the rear tailgate is very simple. The Lincoln spelled out gives the car an aura that would be otherwise lacking on an expensive model like this one. It needs to look more daring, especially in this segment's fierce competition: some people will like it, and others won't.
The sandstone interior of the Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring is an attractive choice. It feels warm and welcoming, which only the American luxury automakers can deliver, and it will appeal to shoppers who want to feel calm. There are so many different settings on the fittingly-named Perfect Position front seats to reach the most pleasant interior; to position it, you have to look at the door to find the controls, something to arrange when you step into the vehicle the first time. The seats are also heated, ventilated and massaging thanks to the Active Motion functionality, a feature uncommon in the segment. The second row can be lowered from the trunk with two buttons thanks to the Easyfold capability, or you can manually recline one of the seats if you need to. People will be glad to sit in the back since the seats are comfortable and there is plenty of room. Installing car seats is quick with the accessible ISOFIX ports and rear anchors. The recipe for success for Ford's luxury division always has focused on the comfort of the occupants, and the Corsair is a great tribute to the past models in that aspect.
Back to the driver's side, we wanted to take a moment and observe that the charger of the Corsair has an indicator around the charging plug to indicate the charge level; it's a great way to know how much time is left to charge the vehicle entirely. That said, when you are in the driver's seat, there isn't much new compared to the model we tested a few months back. We don't like the buttons for voice commands on the steering wheel as they tend to be in the way when you're making a turn or parking the car. It stops the music and asks you its following command. On the other hand, the steering wheel has a neat feature that only displays the commands you can use depending on what's shown on the digital gauge cluster. It adjusts instantly to make the whole ensemble look less cluttered.
In the center console, you will find the Piano Key Shifter, which is okay but still looks weird. The 8-inch infotainment display is now becoming too small; it still works fine, but the competition across the board all have larger screens; here, it looks like an afterthought. Apple Carplay and Android Auto are available, although not wireless. The optional Revel sound system is available and is an improvement over the regular Lincoln system, which already sounds great. The center console is carried over from recent years, which works well and is functional.
Since we last drove the Lincoln Corsair, we were always curious about the plug-in hybrid powertrain. For starters, it is only available on the highest trim, the Grand Touring, so you need to shell out a few additional pennies to get the hybrid engine. The vehicle pairs a 2.5L 4-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine to an electric motor which a CVT manages to combine for 266hp. The 14.4 kWh battery offers a decent range. We averaged about 45km, thus reducing the fuel consumption to a reasonable 5.2L/100km on average, almost 2L under the official figures. The Lincoln Corsair shares its plug-in hybrid powertrain with the Ford Escape PHEV, but the main difference is the former is only available in all-wheel-drive while the latter is only available in front-wheel-drive. That said, the added horsepower is apparent when you drive the vehicle.
The driving experience inside the Corsair Grand Touring is still true to the Lincoln DNA, with comfort and quietness at the forefront. We found the 4-cylinder loud, so we recommend you use the Pure EV mode for as long as possible to keep the cabin quiet. Another advantage of the PHEV version is that the vehicle is more stable with the added weight in the back for the battery. That becomes especially apparent when you have to brake hard; the front doesn't collapse as much. The adaptive suspension also plays a big part in that aspect and much more since it improves ride quality to make this the most comfortable ride in its category. The steering is still on the soft side of the spectrum; like it or hate it, it's a staple of the American automaker.
Looking back on the Lincoln Corsair, we appreciate that the parent company: Ford, gave this vehicle a plug-in hybrid version. It's well-suited for the car, and the powertrain provides enough power with a decent electric range. It also keeps comfort as priority number one. We hope to see more hybrid versions of these compact SUVs, especially in urban areas.
At the time of writing, Lincoln has released the updated 2023 version. In a nutshell, the front grille has been redesigned: it's now bigger and has a commanding stance just looking at it. A new wheel design is also available, but the substantial change is found inside, with a new 13.2-inch center screen that integrates the climate controls and a new 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. A meaningful change at a time when automakers are installing larger screens in their vehicles, the Corsair isn't as far behind as it was a few months back.
Lincoln has lent us this vehicle as a press vehicle. We have no affiliation with Lincoln, Canada. The above reflects our personal opinion.